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What is the best way to improve healthcare, develop partnerships and foster connections? Through sharing. Great Plains QIN hosts community coalition meetings throughout North Dakota and South Dakota to bridge gaps and share knowledge and resources. Partners come together to learn from one another; offering project updates, upcoming events and best practices.

At a recent community meeting, the North Dakota Health Information Network provided a thorough overview of the Health Information Exchange (HIE) system in North Dakota. What is an HIE?  A database of health information allowing clinical information to quickly move electronically between the different healthcare systems that may be used by a patient’s providers, including specialty providers or laboratory testing facilities. The HIE maintains privacy, security and accuracy of information shared. Learn more.

Sarah Miller is the Outreach Manager for the NDHIN. Miller explained how the HIE system helps foster decision making, reduces duplication, unnecessary paperwork while providing a comprehensive medical record. This comprehensive record improves communication between a doctor and patient. Healthcare providers are able to receive alerts and notifications regarding patients’ admissions, discharges, transfers and critical lab values, can share lab results and create a more comprehensive patient profile through the HIE.

One community partner commented, “We use the system to close the loops and improve continuity of care for our patients.”

Lisa Thorp, a NDHIN Outreach Coordinator, offered a demonstration of how clinicians are able to use NDHIN, clearly outlining the benefit of available data for both the clinician and the patient. The demo was done using the NDHIN “training” environment which does not include actual patient information. Rather there are specially designed “test-patient” records that can be used to simulate the actual NDHIN application. The test-patient record included patient history, verified allergies, a diagnosis list, previous care visits and current medication use. This comprehensive look at the individuals’ health status and history is a powerful tool to improve care and reduce unnecessary duplication of testing, medication errors and overall costs.

“My father-in law did not have to redo his lab tests recently. His provider needed labs, but was able to get information needed from the NDHIN. My father-in-law was so happy he did not have to redo everything at his local provider’s clinic,” added community partner Natasha Green, MBA, BSN; Quality Health Associates of North Dakota.”

The HIE system helps to decrease duplication of services; allowing a care provider to see when individuals had their most recent labs, mammograms, cancer screenings, and additional care services, which saves time and money. To learn more about the North Dakota Health Information Network, contact Sarah Miller at

As the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for North Dakota and South Dakota, Great Plains QIN aspires to make healthcare in our region the best in the nation. We have partnered with nursing homes, hospitals, community leaders, health systems as part of the Great Plains Quality Care Coalition. Learn more.